Posted: 9 November 2023 

On the 28th and 29th of October, 19 students and 5 coaches from across Scotland’s universities took part in the inaugural Student Beginner Programme camp at the Scottish Rowing Centre. The Student Beginner Programme is the first of its kind hosted by Scottish Rowing and aims to help develop students who have never rowed before, to discover their potential and assist the student-run clubs with coaching support throughout the year. Athletes from far and wide travelled to Strathclyde Park with representatives from St Andrews University, University of Glasgow, Heriot Watt University, University of Strathclyde, Stirling University and University of Aberdeen. This camp set out to lay the foundations of an effective and confident sculling stroke, and to provide the attendees with the tools and knowledge to keep developing through the sport and an insight into what it takes to be successful in performance sport.




On the Saturday morning, athletes and coaches were welcomed by the Scottish Rowing Performance Pathway coaching team, where they were introduced to the fundamentals of the rowing stroke and given a breakdown of what the weekend ahead would entail. This was followed by the first session on the ergometer focusing on suspending through a leg driven stroke, along with anthropometric testing and a basic skills session in the Scottish Rowing Indoor Rowing Tank. The athletes then took to the water to put into practice some of the skills they had learned. For many of these beginners, this was their first time in a sculling boat. Despite the weather being wet and windy, the spirits were high and after working on a range of boat skills, hard work, and determination the athletes headed home to recover and prepare for the next day.

Day two, after a quick technical refresher on the ergo, the athletes sunk their teeth into some ergometer tests. A 250m sprint, shortly followed by a 1km piece at rate 24 are both common tests used by coaches to get a snapshot of explosive power, effective technique and rowing fitness – the athletes have now laid down their first benchmark for the season. Next the athletes moved into the gym, where they were worked through the basics of important strength and conditioning movements, ready to use to improve their strength and robustness, an important consideration in a new sport to help prevent injury in the future as their training loads begin to increase. After lunch, the athletes were back out on the water continuing to apply all that they had learned so far. With knowledge of new skills, some extra confidence, and an intense desire to progress, they are well on their way to competing at upcoming events in the race calendar – notably BUCS Head and BUCS Regatta.



Lead Performance Pathway Coach, Tom Young said; “We know from experience that there are lots of talented athletes out there that take up the sport each September across the country, and it was great to see not only so many of our clubs get on board with this new programme, but so many fresh-faced athletes excited to explore their potential in the sport!

We are excited to see how these athletes progress in the coming months as they gear up to their first experience of head racing and braving training through the cool Scottish winter!

For more information on the Student Beginner Programme or to register your interest in future camps, you can see the original SBP article here